It is again the season of the giant planets. First up is Saturn, the ‘Lord of the Rings.’ Saturn is at opposition Aug. 2. Opposition is when an outer planet is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun. This is the time when they are the closest, largest and brightest. They are also up all night long.

To your eyes, Saturn is a yellowish star. With binoculars, it becomes football shaped and with a small telescope, the rings magically appear. Aug. 2, at 9:30 p.m. (an hour after sunset), Saturn is low in the southeast. It will cross the sky as the night wears on and be directly south at midnight. Brighter Jupiter follows to the east.

Public night is the first Friday of each month from sunset to 10 p.m. Join us Aug. 6 to check out the “Lord of the Rings.”

Aaron Clevenson
Author: Aaron ClevensonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am the observatory director at the Insperity Observatory in Humble ISD. I am also an adjunct astronomy professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery where I teach solar system astronomy and stars and galaxies astronomy. I am the author of the astronomy textbook, “Astronomy for Mere Mortals.” I am a past president of the North Houston Astronomy Club, and was the chair of Astronomy Day in Southeast Texas in 2015 and 2016. He is an observing program director with The Astronomical League, coordinates their Master Observer Progression Awards, and has authored six of their observing programs.

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